Throughout my time working as Marketing Assistant at HandMade Theatre, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the creation of the fantastic new Christmas show, The Twelve Birds of Christmas. Yesterday, however, I was able to sit back and enjoy a performance as part of a lovely audience from Norfolk Park School.
The beautiful hand made set, familiar from the Flying The Nest shows, was magically lit and supplied with cheerful tunes from cello and accordion. The perfect background as the audience were led to their very own nests, by the founder of Hatchling College, Marjory Longtail.
Once seated, the show began with a burst of enthusiasm, involving the audience members from the very beginning through introductions to each other and the Professors. The cast members were immediately accommodating to the SEN class that had come to watch the show, signing parts of the dialogue and taking the time to interact with each of the children individually, ensuring they all gained the most from the experience.
It was wonderful to watch the level of audience participation throughout the entire show, with the children joining in with The Twelve Birds of Christmas song and shouting out the countdown of each day with panto-esque enthusiasm. The flexibility of the show allowed the contributions of the audience members to direct the action, with cast members seamlessly improvising songs and narrative to involve the children in creation.
The children also decorated their own nests, were showered with rain and snow, and jumped at the opportunity to dance with the seven swimming swans! The space really lends itself to the ethos of participation, and HandMade Theatre have succeeded in creating a truly immersive, multi sensory experience.
Despite its grounding in the traditional Christmas song, The Twelve Birds of Christmas is able to retain an undeniable flair of uniqueness. The inclusion of original songs, played on an eray of wonderful instruments, and the charming puppets that appear in support of the narrative, delighted both children and adults alike.
My personal favourite, Jack McGoose, is beautifully crafted – in direct contrast to his hilarious flatulence that the audience loved to laugh at.
By the end of the show, the audience members and cast were all on their feet and singing, before snow began to fall dreamily from the rafters – all to the sound of Professor Plop playing the harp. This was a truly magical end to a heartwarming show that left me feeling excited for Christmas.
There are still tickets available for various dates leading up to Christmas eve, for a festive family treat, have a look here.